Charles Stanley – The Key to Continued Peace

Charles Stanley

Life Principle 12

Peace with God is the fruit of oneness with God.

Psalm 4:8

Every now and then we do well to take stock of our situations, so I’d like to ask you to look around. What’s happening in your life and in your family?

You may not be experiencing a difficult time. From your perspective, everything may seem sunny and clear. Storms come, however. At times, they roll into our lives with bounding blows. How do we maintain a sense of peace and spiritual balance when trials strike?

The answer is found in a close, abiding relationship with Jesus Christ. The words of Helen Lemmel’s classic hymn, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” contain a vital and exciting truth: an unshakable peace is available to all who turn the eyes of their hearts to Jesus.

Chances are when adversity strikes, one of the first things you do is to wonder why. Then you may question what kind of impact it will have on your life. While reactions such as these are normal, we also need another response, and that is to turn to the One who holds all comfort and security firmly within His grasp.

No one, outside of God, is equipped to handle our problems. He never meant for us to be strong on our own. He wants us to find courage, hope, and strength in Him and His Word.

Many wonder what they can do to change the feelings of anxiety they feel when they come under pressure. One of the first steps is to recognize anxiety for what it is—the opposite of peace. It is the fan that flames the fires of doubt and confusion, and it has the ability to leave us helplessly bundled up in worry and fear. When we cave into thoughts of anxiety, we lose our spiritual focus and mindset. The key to overcoming anxiety is found only in the presence of God.

Paul admonishes us: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6, 7).

Accepting God’s timetable and the limitations He places on a given situation help to dispel rising anxiety. Therefore, let Him provide for you in His timing. When you accept life as a gift from the hand of God, then you will do what Helen Lemmel’s song says—you will turn your eyes toward Jesus. You will look full into His glorious face and there find mercy and grace, forgiveness and hope, peace and everlasting security.

What would you give to experience the peace of God? Are you willing to lay down the anger that haunts your soul because someone has done something to wound you? God knows the hurt you have experienced. Will you trust Him in quietness, knowing He has not forgotten you but stands ready to heal you?

God’s peace is unshakable because there has never been a time or an event when God has felt disturbed. His peace and presence are sure. They are immovable. You will accomplish many things—great and mighty—when you keep your focus on God.

At one of the most difficult points in his life, David wrote Psalm 57, which begins: “Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, for my soul takes refuge in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge until destruction passes by. I will cry to God Most High, to God who accomplishes all things for me. He will send from heaven and save me; He reproaches him who tramples upon me. God will send forth His lovingkindness and His truth” (vv. 1–3).

How could David write such trusting words, especially with King Saul trying to kill him? David had a divine, unshakable peace within his heart that God would protect his life and fulfill His promises to him.

The safest place for you when trials come is in the everlasting arms of Jesus. After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples and said to them, “Peace be with you” (John 20:19). This was not a trite greeting; the Lord had a specific purpose in mind. He spoke of God’s peace, immovable and eternal—the peace He had paid for on the cross (John 14:27; Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:13–16)—the peace you need today.

Does something trouble you? Has a conflict, sorrow, or situation escalated beyond your control? Hear His word to you: “Peace be with you.”

Let His peace invade your heart. Tell Him all you are feeling. He understands and knows life can be difficult—but He has a solution. Our peace resides in our Savior, who loves us unconditionally. He has promised to keep us and deliver us into the Father’s loving arms.

Adapted from The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, © 2009.

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Our Daily Bread — Tear Down The Wall

Our Daily Bread

Genesis 50:15-21

He comforted them and spoke kindly to them. —Genesis 50:21

The years following World War II were labeled the Cold War as nations exchanged threats and jockeyed for power. The Berlin Wall, built in August 1961, stood for almost 3 decades as one of the most powerful symbols of the smoldering animosity. Then, on November 9, 1989, it was announced that citizens could cross freely from East to West Berlin. The entire wall was demolished the following year.

The familiar Old Testament story of Joseph follows a favorite son whose brothers hated him (Gen. 37–50). Yet Joseph refused to build a wall of hatred between himself and his brothers who sold him into slavery. When a famine brought them face to face after many years, Joseph treated his brothers with kindness, saying, “You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good . . . . And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them” (50:20-21), helping to restore the relationship between them.

Twenty-five years ago today, an oppressive man-made barrier was opened, offering freedom and reuniting families and friends.

If we’ve built walls of anger and separation between ourselves and others, the Lord is willing and able to help us begin tearing them down today. —David McCasland

Heavenly Father, examine my heart; reveal to

me where I have erected walls in relationships.

Show me the way to start tearing them down

that there might be reconciliation.

Anger builds walls; love breaks them down.

Bible in a year: Jeremiah 46-47; Hebrews 6

Insight

Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery, forgotten by people he helped, falsely accused, and unjustly imprisoned. But he overcame all these setbacks to become the second most powerful man in Egypt. Earlier in Genesis 45:5-8, and again here in Genesis 50:20, Joseph acknowledged God’s sovereignty and purpose in his life—that God overrules human sin for His glory and the ultimate good of mankind. Paul succinctly summed up the same truth in Romans 8:28: “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

Alistair Begg – Do Not Doubt

Alistair Begg

His place of defense will be the fortress of rocks; His bread will be given him; his water will be sure.  Isaiah 33:16

Christian, do you doubt whether God will fulfill His promise? Will the fortresses of rock be swept away by a storm? Will the storehouses of heaven fail? Do you think that your heavenly Father, even though He knows that you need food and clothes, will forget you? When not a sparrow falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge, and the very hairs of your head are all numbered, will you mistrust and doubt Him? Perhaps your affliction will continue upon you until you dare to trust God, and then it will end.

There have been many who have been tried and troubled until at last they have been driven in sheer desperation to exercise faith in God, and the moment of their faith has been the instant of their deliverance; they have seen whether God would keep His promise or not. So I urge you, doubt Him no longer! Do not please Satan, and do not trouble yourself by indulging any more those hard thoughts of God. Do not imagine that it is a small matter to doubt Jehovah. Remember, it is a sin; and not a little sin either, but in the highest degree criminal. The angels never doubted Him, nor the devils either.

We alone, out of all the beings whom God has fashioned, dishonor Him by unbelief and tarnish His honor by mistrust. Shame on us for this! Our God does not deserve to be so poorly treated; in our past life we have proved Him to be true and faithful to His word, and with so many instances of His love and of His kindness as we have received and are daily receiving at His hands, it is base and inexcusable that we allow a doubt to lodge within our heart. From now on let us resolve to wage constant war against doubts of our God—enemies to our peace and to His honor—and with an unstaggering faith believe that what He has promised He will also perform. “I believe; help my unbelief!”1

1) Mark 9:24

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The family reading plan for November 9, 2014 * Joel 1 * Psalm 140, 141

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Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

Charles Spurgeon – The ship on fire—a voice of warning

CharlesSpurgeon

‘Escape for thy life; … Thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life.’ Genesis 19:17,19

Suggested Further Reading: Luke 17:28–33

This alarm demands of every one of us who are unsaved, an undivided attention. You have fifty things to think about. You tell me you have a thousand cares. O sirs, a man whose life is in danger, has no other care than to save his life. Did those who were rescued from the ‘Amazon’ have time to save their money and their gold? We are told that they were utterly destitute when they landed at Margate, and what does it matter? Would not a flush of joy be on their cheeks because their lives were preserved? If one said to his fellow, ‘Where is your purse?’ ‘Oh,’ would say the other, ‘never mind my purse; I am in the lifeboat; my life is saved.’ And what is the loss after all, if you lose the world and gain your soul? Those on board the ship had not time to save their clothes. They ran just as they were, half-naked, to the vessel’s deck, and so must you. I know you will tell me you are not living to make money; if you could just make ends meet, keep your family—that is all—are you not to think of this? It is well and good; far be it from me to discourage prudent carefulness in all matters; it is your business to see to temporal matters, but still your paramount business must be your soul; even necessaries must not come between your soul and your most serious thoughts. You must see to this first and foremost, and remember there is a promise about it—‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’

For meditation: We are horrified by fires on earth; how much more should we dread the everlasting fires of hell (Isaiah 33:14). It’s far better to have Christ and lose out on earth than to end up in hell without Christ (Mark 9:43–48).

N.B. This sermon was preached following the burning of the ship Amazon off Broadstairs on the Kent coast. All the passengers and crew were saved. The captain was in Spurgeon’s congregation on this occasion as was his custom when on shore.

Sermon no. 550

8 November (1863)

 

John MacArthur – Walking by Faith

John MacArthur

“By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God” (Heb 11:5).

When you walk by faith, you enjoy intimacy with God.

Our second hero of faith is Enoch. Genesis 5:21-24 records that “Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah. Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.”

What a wonderful epitaph: “Enoch walked with God.” His life exemplifies the walk of faith. Adam and Eve had walked with God in the Garden of Eden, but their sin separated them from such intimacy. Enoch experienced the fellowship with God they had forfeited.

Enoch’s faithful walk pleased God greatly. And after more than three hundred years on earth, Enoch was translated to heaven without ever experiencing death. It’s as if God simply said, “Enoch, I enjoy your company so much, I want you to join me up here right now.”

Like Enoch, there is coming a generation of Christians who will never see death. Someday—perhaps soon—Jesus will return for His church, “then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up . . . in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:17). Enoch is a beautiful picture of that great future event, which we call the rapture of the church.

As you walk with God, He delights in you. You’re His child and your praises and fellowship bring Him joy. Psalm 116:15 says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones.” Even death itself simply ushers you into His presence for all eternity.

Let the joy of intimacy with God, and the anticipation of seeing Christ face to face—either by rapture or by death— motivate you to please Him more and more each day of your life.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for the promise of Christ’s return.

For Further Study

Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

  • What events surround the rapture of the church?
  • How were the Thessalonians to respond to Paul’s teaching about the rapture?
  • How should you respond?

Joyce Meyer – The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Joyce meyer

Now about the spiritual gifts (the special endowments of supernatural energy), brethren, I do not want you to be misinformed. —1 Corinthians 12:1

Much has been written about the gifts of the Spirit throughout Christian history. The Bible itself teaches us the importance of the gifts of the Spirit and the importance of our not being ignorant of them. Yet, in spite of all the information available today on the subject, many people are totally ignorant of these gifts. I, for one, attended church for many years and never heard one sermon or lesson of any kind on the gifts of the Spirit. I didn’t even know what they were, let alone that they were available to me.

There are many varieties of “gifts” or “endowments,” as they are called in the Amplified Bible, which also refers to them as “extraordinary powers distinguishing certain Christians” (1 Corinthians 12:4). The gifts vary, but they are all from the same Holy Spirit. When we let God lead us in the use of these gifts, they add a wonderful dimension of power to our lives. First Corinthians 12:8–10 (KJV) lists the gifts as: the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, the gifts of healing, the working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, divers (different) kinds of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues.

These are all abilities, gifts, achievements, and endowments of supernatural power by which the believer is enabled to accomplish something beyond the ordinary, and they are available to all believers. We cannot force the operation of any spiritual gift. We are to earnestly desire all the gifts, but the Holy Spirit chooses when and through whom they operate. Ask for and expect God’s leading concerning the gifts of the Spirit.

God’s word for you today: You don’t have to live in weakness because God’s power is available to you today and every day.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Chosen to be Glorified

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“And having chosen us, He called us to come to Him; and when we came, He declared us ‘not guilty,’ filled us with Christ’s goodness, gave us right standing with Himself, and promised us His glory” (Romans 8:30).

A famous Christian leader insisted to me that anyone could lose his salvation. I asked him if he felt that he would ever lose his. Quickly, he replied, “Absolutely not. I am sure I will not lose my salvation.”

Can we lose our salvation? Personally, I believe there is too much controversy over this issue. Some fear that the individual who has assurance of salvation and knows that he will spend eternity with God might have a tendency to compromise his conduct, which would result in disobedience to God and would be an insult to Christ and His church. Others think that the individual who does not live like a Christian – although he professes faith in Christ – has never experienced the new birth, does not have eternal life and will be forever separated from God.

It is quite likely that the person who insists on “doing his own thing” – going his own way while professing to be a Christian – is deceived and should be encouraged to look into the mirror of God’s Word. For if his salvation is real, the evidence should proclaim it.

The caterpillar which goes through a metamorphosis to become a butterfly, lives like a butterfly, not a caterpillar. In the same way, the man or woman who has experienced new life in Christ will witness to it in his life.

Our beginning Scripture deals with seven marvelous truths:

He chose us.

He called us.

We came.

He declared us not guilty.

He filled us with Christ’s goodness.

He gave us a right standing with Himself.

He promised us His glory.

For centuries, man has been mystified by predestination and eternal security. One famous theologian put it this way: “How would it be a source of consolation to say…that whom God foreknew, He predestinated, and whom he predestinated, He called, and whom He called, He justified, and whom He justified might fall away and be lost forever?”

We should praise and worship God because of His promises to all who receive Him that He will never leave them nor forsake them (Hebrews 13:5).

Bible Reading: Ephesians 1:3-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will meditate upon the truths in this marvelous Word from God. And as an expression of my gratitude for the privilege of living a supernatural life, I will praise and thank God constantly for His goodness and will encourage other believers to do the same

Presidential Prayer Team; C.P. – Choices

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George Washington said, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable.” The United States has a rich history of leaders yielded to God – and citizens have reaped the benefits. “Making choices is like buying tickets to future events,” Abraham Lincoln said. “The best way to predict your future is to create it.”

Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.

Ruth 1:16

Ruth of the Bible had a choice. She and her sister-in-law were following Naomi when Naomi told them to return to their families. Orpah chose to go back, but Ruth insisted on staying with Nomi. Ruth’s decision led to a blessed life in God and to the honor of being in Christ’s lineage.

Be thankful for past leaders (governmental and religious) and the rich heritage which God has used to make America a great nation. Pray that God will have His way in the lives of newly-elected leaders and that their decisions will make a better life for the next generations. Then ask the Lord to guide you to make choices that will have benefits for you and those around you.

Recommended Reading: Joshua 24:14-24